Book Review

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

28 year old Sara has never left her home country of Sweden, except in the many books that she’s read.  So, when her elderly pen friend Amy invites her to visit her home in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sarah takes the plunge and packs her bags.

Arriving in Iowa, she is concerned when Amy doesn’t meet her as planned, and she soon finds out that Amy has passed away.  Unsure of the appropriate course of action, Sara is convinced by the residents of Broken Wheel to stay for a little while, despite her reservations.

Trying to find a way to give something back to this community that is seemingly willing to adopt her as one of it’s own (and to pass the time), she opens her own book store in Broken Wheel.

Sara comes across as being a timid girl.  She prefers books to real people, finding fictional characters easier to understand and safer than the people she meets in real life.  She’s an introvert, but underneath all of this she is smart and wilful, and I loved getting to know her throughout the novel.

Broken Wheel is presented as a dying community – many of the shops stand empty, and the youngsters are moving away to bigger and better places when they get the chance.  But there is an incredibly strong community spirit here, and Sara adds the little breath of fresh air that they seem to have been waiting for.

The chapters are interspersed with the letters sent from Amy to Sara prior to her arrival.  Through these, we get an insight into Amy’s character, even though we’ve never actually met her.  We also get additional insights into the town and it’s inhabitants, and I really enjoyed these little epistles – I felt that they added a little something extra to the novel.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a a book for book lovers.  Sara is determined to get everyone in Broken Wheel reading, whether they think they want to or not, in the firm belief that there is a book for everyone, no matter who you are or whatever your interests.  That said, there are some minor spoilers for books that you may not have read, which might as well be a cardinal sin as far as I’m concerned.

This is a lovely, warm hearted tale that I really enjoyed, and I think that it would make a great holiday read.

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